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May 16, 2010 / Steve

Day 135 – Trolley Time

The San Diego trolley stop near the Amtrak station is a busy place, and an interesting spot for a photo. I was actually surprised at how busy both the trolley and the Amtrak were. It kind of made me want to go for a ride. We’ve been in the San Diego area since 2002 and have never used the trolley or the Coaster (Amtrak).

With the camera mounted on the tripod, this is a 25 second exposure at f/11, ISO 50, 24mm. At this spot, the wider the lens, the better. I used the new HDR Toning tool in Photoshop CS5 on a single RAW file to get this edgy, high detail sort of look.

The trolley crossed in front of me from left to right, stopping to let the passengers off. You can see where the lower red streaks stop; that’s where it came to rest. The lights of the station reflect off the red sides of the trolley as it passes by, which “paints” the color into the frame gradually because of the trolley’s movement. As a result, it remains transparent enough to see through to the other side.

I almost forgot to mention that there was a cop watching me almost the entire time, who finally approached me and asked me what I was up to. I explained that I was doing “long exposures” of the trolley, and I could tell by his expression that he didn’t really understand what that meant. Minutes later, this trolley came by and I got my best picture. The policeman promptly came over to me again, but this time he just wanted to see what it looked like.

Normally, when an officer approaches you while shooting pictures off of a tripod or with lighting equipment, it’s usually not because they are curious or just being friendly. Our pathetically litigious society has made it so difficult for hobbyist photographers. Quite often, if you have nice equipment, you are considered to be doing professional work and are often either not allowed to take pictures or you are asked to show your permit and proof of $1,000,000 liability insurance… It was nice to meet an enforcement professional on a personal level for once.



Leave a Comment
  1. Bryan / May 16 2010 1:18 PM

    Love this.

  2. Mary Skinner / May 16 2010 4:06 PM

    Makes me want to go for a ride too. I can’t believe you and Susan have been in Carlsbad for eight years. Love this action shot.

  3. Natalie / May 17 2010 7:24 AM

    Love, love, love this shot! There’s so much going on here with the ceiling so detailed, your trolley lights curves… great shot, Steve!

  4. Sherrie / May 17 2010 9:40 AM

    Fabulous picture Steve! I love the “whoosh” feeling and the warm colors of the train against the gray and steel tones of the station.


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